FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Information Contact:
Dennis Boston at (202) 628-5935
March 21, 2001
Coalition of Rail Employees Strongly Endorses
Introduction of Railroad Retirement Improvement Legislation
Washington, DC – The Coalition of Rail Employees for Improved Pensions (REIP) strongly commends congressional leaders for today’s introduction of the Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act of 2001.
At a press conference presided over by Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young (R-AK) and Ranking Member James Oberstar (D-MN), and joining Association of American Railroads CEO Edward R. Hamberger, the labor coalition called the legislation a historic opportunity.
The bill provides improvements in benefits for rail widows and widowers, lowers the age at which a rail worker may retire with full benefits after 30 years of service, and reduces the number of years a rail employee must work before achieving a vested benefit. The Coalition feels this is measurable progress in an industry characterized by demanding, physical labor over many years and a strong statement about the strength of the rail retirement system now and under this bill.
The legislation permits trustees of the bill’s Railroad Retirement Investment Trust to invest funds for the first time in private equity markets in order to increase investment yields. Increased yields permit more benefits to be offered under the program, as well as the opportunity to lower the taxes that support the system.